UK’s post-Brexit steel quota not seen having big impact on Turkish pipe exports

The UK will have its own steel import safeguard measures from Jan. 1, 2021, similar to those already put in place by the European Commission. Turkish pipe producers don’t expect these measures to have a further major negative effect on exports to the UK, as these have already fallen notably in the first eight months of this year, amid EU quotas.

Turkish mills’ pipe exports to the UK fell to 76,000 mt in first eight months of 2020, sharply lower than 130,000 mt exported in the same period the previous year, according to the latest Turkish Statistical Institute (TUIK) data observed by S&P Global Platts.

“UK will probably adopt similar quotas to EU as of the beginning of 2021, so it will not have further restricting effect on export volumes. We are currently only facing difficulties on gas pipe exports to the EU, while other quotas are generally normal,” an executive of a major Turkish pipe producer executive told Platts Oct. 6, adding that he is not expecting the EU to continue quota measures as of July 2021, as they can face difficulties at the WTO.

The WTO agreed to the establishment of a dispute panel on Aug. 28 to review a complaint filed by Turkey regarding the EU’s safeguard measures on imports of certain steel products, as Platts has reported.

Platts learned from Veysel Yayan, general secretary of the Turkish Steel Producers’ Association, on Oct. 5 that the WTO panel is currently being assembled and a final decision by the panel could be announced in the coming months.

Turkish mills, meanwhile managed to maintain their overall steel pipe export volumes year on year in January-August, despite trade barriers in some of Turkey’s main pipe export markets, including the EU.

Turkish producers exported 1.12 million mt of steel pipe under HS codes 7305 and 7306 to global markets in the eight-month period, slightly higher than 1.08 million mt exported in the same period the previous year.

Despite pressure from EU import quotas and the virus outbreak, this region continued to be Turkey’s main pipe export destination in January-August.

Romania became Turkey’s largest pipe export destination in January-August, taking 177,000 mt, up 10% year on year.

Turkey’s pipe exports to Iraq reached 128,000 mt in the eight-month period, up 11% on year, while exports to Israel totaled 91,600 mt.

Exports to Belgium rose 36% on year to 71,500 mt in the first eight months of 2020, despite EU quotas, while Canada became one of Turkey’s main pipe export markets in January-August at 45,000 mt.

Turkish mills’ pipe exports to the US fell to around 15,000 mt in January-August, sharply lower than the 65,200 mt exported in the same period the previous year, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Turkish pipe mills shipped 92,000 mt to the US in 2019, about a third of the 279,000 mt exported in 2018 after the establishment of US Section 232 tariffs.

Turkish pipe producers reflected the rises seen in HRC costs to their list prices in the previous weeks, as reported. As domestic HRC producers in Turkey have been offering HRC relatively flat at $530-$540/mt ex-works in recent days, Turkish pipe mills’ domestic and export pricing also remained stable.

A pipe producer told Platts on Oct. 6 that Turkish mills’ BPE grade welded pipe prices are currently at $560-$580/mt.

— Cenk Can